Black Honey // Church, Leeds // 18.10.18
I first discovered Black Honey around two years ago, not long after they released their first EP, and it was clear this band had the potential to be pretty damn big. Now a couple of years later the band have released their successful eponymous debut album, Black Honey, which shows a clear development and change in their style of music, as it features songs that have an electronic tinge, and stays with the theme throughout it. To translate these kind of songs to a live performance is difficult, yet Black Honey have done it, with the help of the enthusiastic crowd. It was obvious that those that made up the crowd at this gig were massive fans of the band, with the main part of the crowd refusing to hold back their excitement.
The choice of venue was fantastic, with Church being, well, exactly what it sounds like. The stage positioned in front of a beautiful stained glass window, made up of traditional religious images, and the open feel to the room was spectacular for a gig. Frontwoman of the first support band Russo commented on the venue, stating how great it was, yet how high up the stage was, and how it made her scared to go overly energetic – but that didn’t stop her. There was a clear theme to the artists chosen to support Black Honey – female-fronted indie bands. Russo, a foursome from LA, were fantastic, with the frontwoman Caitlin Russo, being interactive, funny and enjoyable to watch as she bounced around on stage. The same can be said for the guitarist, Tyler McCarthy, who was so encapsulated by performing, it was as though the crowd wasn’t there, it was just him and the music.
The second support act, all-female, Mancunian band PINS, had a reasonably different energy. The band radiated ‘badass’ from their look to the music to the mannerisms; it was a whole performance.
Having these two contrasting acts as support for Black Honey worked, but it also kind of made you forget you were there for the headlining band.
When Black Honey later entered the stage, the first thing I actually noticed was the more tame outfit of singer and guitarist Izzy B. Phillips, as she has been extremely inventive with her fashion choices this tour. One of these included a McDonalds uniform – and to fit with the theme, Izzy threw a happy meal box full of merch into the crowd. There wasn’t actually much interaction between the band and the crowd throughout, especially between songs. But that didn’t matter. Everyone was so buzzed off hearing the songs (that they have probably had on repeat for months) live.
Unsurprisingly, throughout the show all of the self-titled was played. However, it was the older songs that really got the crowd going. In particular, ‘Corrine’, which has over two million listens on Spotify, being their most popular single. Yet, ‘Spinning Wheel’ was what caused the crowd to lose it. I have to admit I did not expect a mosh pit at a Black Honey gig, and especially to this song, but still there was no holding people back from leaping around into each other during the gig.
During the slower songs, such as ‘Baby’, members of the crowd actually whipped out their lighters and waved their arms in the air, which led to the lead singer stepping up to the very front of the stage and doing the same. Whilst there was a lack of verbal interaction with the crowd, the energy radiating from them reflected onto the band, as when the pit opened up the band fully let loose, with Phillips screaming her heart out.
The night ended with the most party-esque song off the debut album, ‘Midnight’. It was a brilliant choice to end the show with this song, as people left pumped. In fact, even once the band had left the stage and the lights came back on, half the crowd were still dancing.
Both Black Honey and PINS were stood selling their own merch after the gig, which is always nice to witness, as people got to meet and talk to the bands. With the choice of venue meaning everything was in one room, it was nice to experience a gig headlined by a band that have become quite big, that felt so informal. Even during PINS performance, Black Honey stood next to the crowd to watch their support, without being hassled in any way.
From the music, to the personalities, to the crowd’s energy, the show was one I will definitely remember. As for Black Honey, a successful debut album, followed by a successful tour shows that they have only just started.